Let us start with a question. Did you first look at the images and are now coming to this text, or did you open the book to this first page? If perception depends on framing, the question is how this book lends itself to being Vincent Broquaire’s framing device? A book is meant to be read sequentially, from start to finish, allowing a narrative to be unfold. Pictures on the other hand do not usually have a starting and ending point, indeed are meant to be seen all at once. Broquaire’s work seems to play with this perception.
Consider the drawings, how did you see them? (Before continuing to read, if you haven’t already looked at the images, may we invite you to first do so). Did each page start as a single image, and how did you come to realize that there were not one but actually two, or more, images and times on each page?
Then, the question of how Broquaire’s set of drawing is read? They are not so much sequential (like in a graphic novel), as co-existential – for instance in the first image, the window opens out to a view and the window is the view. Having read them as separate images did they come together again as one, one that sits in a strange oscillation between the different states described by the drawing?
Books usually frame reality as a narrative of cause and effect, so as you turn from page to page, you might have expected to find the development of an explanation. But Broquaire’s book does not offer any explanations, indeed there are more mind puzzles.
If we look at the drawings’ subject matter only, we might be tempted to say Broquaire is interested in what is real : man-made versus nature, the physical or the virtual world… But if we consider his medium of framing, a book that is not a “book”, drawings that are one and multiple at the same time, we might come to realize that he is not questioning what we think is real so much as how we think what is real?
We live in an age where very little of nature has not been touched by man, and technology is effectively an extension of our bodies and mind. Is it not time to question the inherited oppositions of man versus nature, man versus the machine, and even the physical versus the virtual? Reality has changed, but has our ability to realize that changed?
Image : Vincent Broquaire, Holidays, 24×32 cm